Saturday, January 06, 2007

Governator seeks insurance for all Cal children

From the L.A. Times today, 4 January 2007:

“SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will propose that all Californian children, including those in the state illegally, be guaranteed medical insurance as part of the health-care overhaul he intends to unveil next week”

The pro and con for including children of illegal aliens seems to sort out as follows:

Pro - From a public health standpoint, it's smarter to cover all children regardless of immigration. You just don't want unimmunized kids surfing around in the population.

Con - Californians do not want to reward illegal behavior

I lean toward the public health view because I think the additional cost of covering children of illegal aliens will be a relatively small part of the overall package – a likely public health bargain. Besides, I think it would be an error to hold children responsible for the illegal behavior of their parents, certainly insofar as entitlement to a public health care program that affects mainly the poor. Finally I think the possibility that this thing will actually be enacted and presented to the Governator for signature are less than 50%.

The governor vetoed a similar plan in 2005 citing lack of a plan to pay for it. It's not clear why the financing might be different now and in fact the article reports that “the administration has not revealed details of how it would pay for such a program”. The article also states that “Sixty-nine percent of Californian children without health insurance in 2005 were eligible for existing programs but were not enrolled, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research...That was due to a variety of factors, including inadequate funds in some county programs to cover all those who qualified”. One must wonder about the logic of pushing a new program when the state cannot pay for the program it has already.

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